Fernando Lopes-Graça

One of the most proeminent Portuguese composers of the 20th century (b. 1906-d. 1994). He studied composition at the National Conservatoire, in Lisbon, and atended José Viana da Mota's piano virtuosity class. In his first opus, "Variations on a Portuguese Popular Theme", written in 1929, he already shows an interest that will last and grow throughout his work: that on Portuguese traditional music. After a period in Paris, where he studied composition and orchestration with Koechlin, in the late thirties, his return to Portugal brings him to an intense activity as a composer, choir director, pianist, musicologist, critic, essaist, translator, in spite and because of being outcast and forbidden to teach by the dictatorship regime. In the 40s and 50s, he won several composition competitions, founded a concert society and a music magazine. In 1949, he entered the jury at the Béla Bártok International Competition, in Budapest. Together with ethnomusicologist Michel Giacometti, he traveled throughout the country recording work songs, which he later harmonized. His body of work includes many regional songs and others (such as the "Heroic Songs") aimed to be sung by amateur choirs, but also orchestral works, chamber and piano music. He was comissioned a piece by Mstislav Rostropovich, to whom he wrote the "Concerto da Cammera col Violoncello Obbligato". Other major opuses are his "Sinfonia per Orchestra", the two piano concertos, "Requiem for the Victims of Fascism in Portugal", "Song of Love and Death", six piano sonatas, 24 Preludes, "In Memoriam Béla Bártok".

Fernando Lopes-Graça's Piano Quartet (1st movement), by Francisco Monteiro and members of the Lyra Quartet:

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